Talk:Experimental film

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Untitled[edit]

Attention: While the writers and editors of this article presumably have fantastic intentions regarding its final form, their edits, particularly placement of statements critical of other editor's contributions in the article itself is making the article much, much worse. It is a shame. Please, please, please, find some sort of consensus on the subject, or remove the headings in question. -anon

An entry lacking in worth[edit]

You can't dismiss Brakhage with the term 'abstraction' in one sentence and call it an entry on experimental film.

This article is completely worthless to anyone who would want to search for it, and provides little adequate information except the view held by most people ignorant of experimental cinema -- that it is merely a poor cousin to the products pumped out by the American military-industrial complex. For shame, wikipedia, for shame... let's get this written by someone who knows a thing or two.

>> go for it.

>>>> OK, but can I ask what the general 'etiquette' (for lack of a better word) is regarding modifications -- especially with regards to removing information? I would think if I have the ability to delete what someone else has added, then there is a chance someone else will do the same. I will add content, but after doing sufficient preparation to merit its inclusion in this database.

Your manifesto listed above does not equal factual recording for an online archive. It should be percieved as art history not a bar brawl between art camps.

>>>> A response: Yes, I am aware of that, and intend solely on providing the necessary information with regards to works considered by many as some of the most important art in human history. Rest assured, editorializing about the current American cultural hegemony remains reserved for the talk page. A proper (and therefore factually recorded) analysis, is the best solution, rather than throwing grease on the fire -- done here in order to get things stirred in order to properly settle. As an example, while not particularily enthralled by the work of Mulvey, I will expand on it if need be. The major problem is that this article treats "Experimental film" as some sort of bizarre mutant hybrid of the cinema, whereas in actuality it is the source and root of the cinema. (see Lumiere, Melies, and so forth.) The hybrids, if any, are the "movies" most people watch and consider "normal" which are invariably adaptations/translation from books, plays and so forth. "Experimental film" is an attempt towards the genesis of a film language from the medium itself, not shoe-horned onto it. If we're going to describe structuralist films only as "cold and inhuman", how about a comparison to mainstream works which through Dolby 5.0, Scope and giant multiplexes are designed to batter audiences into a cataconic state of physical numbness? The works of Frampton and Snow have so much humanity that most people miss it entirely. (due to requiring a slightly longer attention span) .... shit, another rant. Peace.

You are the man, therefore negative reviews of structuralists are the man is not an apprpriate are historical response.

large stretches of editorializing require cleanup/link to references[edit]

a large amount of added material from 68.127.207.231 seems more like editorializing, and much of it requires reference to back up her/his claims. I've added the dispute flag for this purpose. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 162.83.203.117 (talkcontribs) 16:47, March 21, 2006 (UTC)

-- I agree. Seems to be a beef against the Structuralists. Piltdown

-- Disagree. Does not appear to editorialize, but to distill basic arguements about the factions of the avant-garde. The structuralists need not necessarily be percieved as "right". That would be editorializing. Many ugly facts are included as well: bad reviews, bad screenings, low revenue, no degrees. This is factual, and relevant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.127.175.210 (talkcontribs) 11:50, March 31, 2006 (UTC)

birth of exprmntl.net[edit]

Just this post to announce the birth of Exprmntl.net (mediawiki website), general encyclopaedia of audio-visual art.

You will find a data base on practical the audio-visual alternatives: experimental cinema, do it yourself cinema, video art, web art, avant-gardes, activisms, super 8

Exprmntl.net exists now in 4 languages: French, English, Spanish, German.

The French version is the most advanced (it takes again the sites cineastes.net)

The English version is now experimental version. It awaits nothing any more but you for agrandire. Write in English, one will translate into French, and reciprocally.

84.100.40.26 22:17, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Disagree - Structuralist filmmaking is a small mode within the larger context of experimental film. Abstraction in Europe does not discount the structuralists - not editorializing. Summaries of negative reviews were provided, location of negative reviews were provided, and are easily accessable.

non-US experimental festivals and exhibiton[edit]

This discussion of exhibition is very US-centered. Can more information about exhibition from outside the US be added.

NYU?[edit]

A mid-Feb edit introduced a line that "Anger's Scorpio Rising is one of the few experimental films NYU owns." So what is NYU? And why is its portfolio of interest here (esp for those of us outside the USA)? I'm inclined to delete the sentence unless anyone can demonstrate its relevance. AllyD 10:16, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

NYU stands for New York University. The university is known in part for their acclaimed film program. Some important directors (Spike Lee, e.g.) are NYU alumns.

Agree - any input not regarding structuralists or American exsperimental post 1975 seems to garner hostillity. Far too much work for the structuralists to be upset anything. The bulk of the article is about them.

significant problems highlighted[edit]

Additional Notes: 5/13/08 1. "and often opposed to, the practices of mainstream commercial and documentary filmmaking." this is an opinion and has nothing to do with the definition of experimental film. 2. "Avant-garde" is also used to describe this work, and "underground" has been used in the past, though it has also had other connotations." It is not just the latter that has different connotations but both. 3. "At least through the 1960s, and to some extent after, many experimental films took an oppositional stance toward mainstream culture." this is again an opinion and has nothing to do with the definition of experimental film. 4. "It has been argued that much experimental film is no longer in fact "experimental," but has in fact become a film genre and that many of its more typical features - such as a non-narrative, impressionistic or poetic approaches to the film's construction - define what is generally understood to be "experimental", this is somewhat accurate but should be revised and moved to the opening sentence. 5.

"The goal is often to place the viewer in a more active and more thoughtful relationship to the film." this is again an opinion and represents only a small segment of experimental film.

6. There is no mention of the differences between experimental film and installation art which incorporates moving images and/or new media which does the same.

This page is extremely biased and needs to be revised. I agree with the comments below. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.86.228.215 (talk) 13:30, 13 May 2008 (UTC)


Not impressed by this at the moment. No Le Grice, no Sitney, no Peterson. It reads like an A-Level project. It seems that this page is in need of an expert - and there are plenty around. It's worth mentioning that these debates about structuralism signal what for many is the end of the avant-garde movement, and are not unimportant in themselves (le Grice Vs. Brakhage).

May I recommend the following texts for anyone wishing to write a better entry. I will also add some material (once I have finished my current marking) - I have around 10,000 words of notes on the history of western avant-garde and experimental film, and will try and get round to editing them asap. IN the meantime maybe somebody look at the following:

A. L. Rees, A History of Experimental Film and Video (BFI, 1999).

Malcolm Le Grice, Abstract Film and Beyond (MIT, 1977).

Scott MacDonald, A Critical Cinema, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988, 1992 and 1998).

Scott MacDonald, Avant-Garde Film: Motion Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

James Peterson, Dreams of Chaos, Visions of Order: Understanding the American Avant-Garde Cinema (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994).

P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, 1943-78 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974).

Michael O’Pray, Avant-Garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions (London: Wallflower Press, 2003).

David Curtis (ed.), A Directory of British Film and Video Artists (Arts Council, 1999).

Hope this is of use. I will stick the bibs on the main page.

Two more for the bibliog.[edit]

Curtis, David. 'Experimental Cinema - A Fifty year evolution'. (London. Studio Vista. 1971)

Dixon, Winston Wheeler and Foster, Gwendolyn Audrey. 'Experimental Cinema - The Film Reader', (London. Routledge. 2002)

I'll put these on the main page. More to follow.

Let Brakhage Speak...[edit]

This has to be a key text. Brakhage on Jerome Hill, Marie Menken, Sidney Peterson, Maya Deren, Christopher Maclaine, Bruce Conner, Ken Jacobs...

Stan Brakhage. Film at Wit's End - Essays on American Independent Filmmakers. (Edinburgh, Polygon. 1989)

And Brakhage on Brakhage...

Stan Brakhage. Essential Brakhage - Selected Writings on Filmmaking. (New York, McPherson. 2001)

(This and above from Alan Clark, Postgraduate Film and Media, University of Hertfordshire, UK).

general suggestions and suggested additions[edit]

I agree with other talk page comments that this article is somewhat skewed towards American experimental film. There are a few European filmmakers I know of as influential in this area. Kurt Kren, from Austria, is quite famous. I believe he would also be described as structuralist and he is contemporary to Stan Brakhage etc. Also Peter Kubelka is well known.

I think the introductory paragraphs could be cogently rephrased to say what the term 'experimental film' has been used to refer to rather than what experimental film actually is, because the definition is predictably inadequate. Then the article can go on to describe various "traditions". Sometimes experimental films ARE narrative. For example most of Kenneth Anger's films are narrative films, albeit non-linear and typically lacking in plot, they still depict characters in diagetic environments. Meanwhile many of Brakhage's films are completely non-representational (immediately abstract). Therefor narrative or lack of narrative is probably not a consistant factor in classifying a film as experimental or not experimental. Perhaps the author(s) mean something specific when they say "..a film 'organized' neither as narrative fiction nor as non-fiction..." But this is unclear.

To begin the article with listing things experimental film (supposedly) is not, detracts from any affirmative definition. Perhaps "mode of filmmaking which rigorously re-evaluates filmmaking conventions" would be more productive. I think this would also be more accurate than the similar sentence in the second paragraph "...made to test an audience's reaction".

j.d. gliptitude@gmail.com

Link to my writing deleted[edit]

I added an external link to a page linking to my many articles on avant-garde and experimental film, all of them first publisehd in periodicals and books elsewhere, spanning four decades. I then got a Wiki-message from "Freshacconci" (at least I do use my real name), which I can no longer find to read and can see no way to reply to, perhaps due to the fact that I don't want to spend an hour or two reading Wiki-help, to the effect that external links should not be used for self promotion. Anyone who thinks my placing of much of my copyrighted writing, highly regarded by many, on the 'Net for free constitutes "self-promotion," and that therefore my link should be removed, as "Freshacconci" apparently did, can go to hell as far as I'm concerned. I have too much else going on to worry about this sort of nonsense or spend any more time on Wikipedia. Anyone with half a brain who actually looks at my writing ought to be able to see it ia as useful, whether you agree or disagree with it, as most or all of the other links, if not more so.

The "banned" link is [http://www.fredcamper.com/Film/a-gfilm.html]

Fredcamper 22:03, 6 June 2007 (UTC)Fred Camper

I saw the reversal of your link going through and thought it a bit over-reactive, especially as you'd made contributions to various other pages. People can be a bit fast in reverting link edits, because there is so much actual link-spamming around. Trying to shift to a more positive note, you'll see this article has been trodden over by various people; possibly with your background perspective you could suggest edits to move the article onto a more solid footing which might help remove people's apparent need to slap notices on it? AllyD 22:11, 6 June 2007 (UTC)


AllyD, thanks for replying. It does look like I could make at least some small improvement to the article. I'll return to it when I get some free time. Meanwhile, I'm sort of hoping someone else will add a link to my page of writings on experimental film, which is a lot more relevant than some of the other links. It even includes an article on defining experimental film. Fredcamper 17:54, 9 June 2007 (UTC) Fred Camper


Some changes I've made, and "Experimental Film in the Academy"[edit]

I've added one important external link and made some additions to some early sections, but the "Experimental Film in the Academy" section is a mess, and apparently also written by someone who doesn't know the difference between "it's" and "its." (I fixed one of those.) I've actually written extensively on the subject, in a long article in Millennium Film Journal in 1987, an article that inspired a whole conference on the state of the field in Toronto in 1989 (at which I was the opening speaker). If someone who also knows the field would like to collaborate on a replacement, please email me, f followed by the at sign followed by fredcamper dot com. Fredcamper 18:11, 9 June 2007 (UTC)Fred Camper

Not having heard from anyone, I have greatly shortened the "Experimental Film in the Academy" section, which was formerly a somewhat incoherent, over-opinionated rant. Fredcamper 18:36, 14 June 2007 (UTC)fredcamper

A plan of action[edit]

This article had been sitting for some months emblazoned with notices and with opinions, appelas to "arbitration" etc embedded in the text. Fredcamper has started a clean-up. Following from that, I think it is time to complete the rest. So I've made a start:

  • The Distribution and Exhibition sections were always overlapping themes and information. I've lifted the chunks of non-opinion-based text from the Distribution section and blended them into the Exhibition section.
  • I have not yet followed through on Step 2, but I think it should be the deletion of the Distribution section as (a) the information is now under Exhibition and (b) the residue is non-encyclopaedic in tone and opinion. I see this as deletion of Distribution, so that "Experimental Film and the Academy" now follows from "Feminist avant-garde and other political offshoots". If any reader disagrees and thinks that would be too brutal, please say so / or revise the text to facilitate the simplification.
  • Step 3 I feel should be the removal of the notices at the top. The article has indeed been reviewed by an expert on the subject who has made some recent changes (thanks, Fred!) and I hope that by this point in the improvement programme the article will no longer appear to be pushing a line?

Views welcome. AllyD 20:34, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

AllyD, I think your plan to remove the "distribution" seciton is a good one. It contains some factual mistkaes (the Museum of Modern art did not buy the Filmmakers' Coop!) and has the same incoherent styles as the "Structural Film in the Academy" section. I'd like to go over the whole of this article more carefully over the next couple of days, but I can see making only some minor tweaks and corrections. How does removing the "factual dispute" notice work -- can anyone do it? Maybe we should wait a week or so to see if there's any more discussion. Fredcamper 14:34, 16 June 2007 (UTC)fredcamper

Anyone can remove a tag. It's best to only remove it once the issues have been addressed in the article and discussed in the talk page. Ideally, the editor who added the tag will have given his/her reasons for doing so on the talk page and you can then address those points. For a factual dispute, it's often unsourced information that seems unlikely or controversial. If you feel the article has been improved enough to remove the tag, do so, as per WP:BOLD. One small note: it's helpful to other editors to include an edit summary with each edit, so that your edits can be tracked and vandals can be identified. Freshacconci 13:15, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. Speaking of vandals, when are you going to add back the link to my writing that you removed? This writing stretches over four decades, was published in a variety of journals, and is part of the history of experimental film. Fredcamper 06:56, 21 June 2007 (UTC)fredcamper

Now I've rewritten (and I hope improved) the key opening paragraph. (any comments?) I'll try to go over the rest of it in the next few days. Fredcamper 13:06, 18 June 2007 (UTC)fredcamper

Steps proposed last week now complete and notices removed from the article. AllyD 20:09, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

AllyD, thanks a lot for your work, and for adding back my link. I think the article could still use some work. I'm going to try to add an exact reference to Sitney's original "Structural Film" article and fix up the "structuralism" section when I get a chance. But it's a lot better than it was, and the rants are gone. Fredcamper 03:20, 23 June 2007 (UTC)fredcamper

Art in America?[edit]

The article still prominently features a summary of a review from Art in America. I didn't locate it in the online Art in America index. Was it an opinion piece? Does it really merit the weight put on it here? At any rate, it should really carry a citation. AllyD 20:14, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

AllyD, I would propose deleting this paragraph for now. Sometime if one of us has time in the library we can try to track down the actual article. The summary of it is rather incoherent -- it's not clear from the summary if specific films are named, or what. I agree that especially without a citation it should be removed. I guess we could wait a bit to see if anyone comments and then one of us should remove it. Thanks for noticing this. Fredcamper 03:20, 23 June 2007 (UTC)fredcamper

Original research or unverified claims[edit]

I just slapped a tag on the article as a whole. I tried to clean parts of it up—I removed some of the most speculative and biased lines—but I'm afraid it needs a real rewrite. It's written like an analytical paper, not like an encyclopedic entry. MagnesianPhoenix (talk) 10:53, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Spanish additions[edit]

An IP's set of additions on experimental film in Spain have been reverted which I think was right, in that they were unsourced and placed largely out of time in the midst of a chronological section. That said, it does look like there could be a future addition of material on José Val del Omar: [1]. AllyD (talk) 13:44, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

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External links modified[edit]

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